May 14, 2022 7:55 pm

Darío Benedetto returns to Boca and will have his second cycle: the intimate reasons for his return

Boca has reason to celebrate. Two and a half years after his departure, Darío Benedetto will wear the blue and gold shirt again. The artilleryman will disembark in the country between Monday and Wednesday, will undergo a medical check-up and -if everything turns out well- will sign a link that would join him to Xeneize until the end of 2024.

Gone are several days of intense negotiations, although the most important thing was resolved for at least a month: the player intended to return and the club opened the doors to repatriation.

With the two most important foci aligned, everything else was more viable. Though not easy at all. Happens that Pipa had a current contract with Olympique Marseille until June 2023, although that also played in favor: if the French wanted to give him another season, they had to put a new contract on the table, something that was not in their plans. Because, at the same time, Benedetto was on loan in Elche, from Spain, a club where -in addition- the scorer is a minority partner of the firm that acquired him.

Dario Benedetto, Boca’s scorerFabián Marelli – THE NATION

It was a key moment for Benedetto. About to turn 32 and with little filming in the Spanish team (substitute for Lucas Boyé), He needed to relaunch his professional career. And that incentive is Boca. The club from which he left in mid-2019 to complete a great professional challenge (playing in European football), but with the promise of returning.

Like every year, “Pipa” spent the Holidays in Buenos Aires, surrounded by his loved ones. In those days it was that he was surprised to declare in TyC Sports: “I said it at the time when I left. I will return to Boca, either as a fan or as a player. I am grateful to the people of Boca for the beautiful love they give me to this day. Hopefully tomorrow I can come back.”

Juan Román Riquelme did not miss the opportunity and called him. Only they know what they talked about, but something was clear: the idol opened the doors to the “operative return”. It was the necessary spark for everything that came later.

“The ball has Pipa. If he wants, on January 3 the preseason starts at the venue”, they entrusted at that time to THE NATION from the bowels of the complex that Boca has in Ezeiza. “Everything depends on him,” they summarized.

Finally, Benedetto returned to Elche with his wife and children, but the theme of celebrating goals again in the Bombonera kept going around in his head.

In the midst of personal and shared decisions, The opinions of his wife, Noelia Pons, and his representative were key, Christian Bragarnik (one of the owners of Elche, precisely).

The mother of his children was very comfortable in Spain. It was she who suggested to her husband to leave Marseille when Jorge Sampaoli stopped considering him at Olympique. The fact of living in a city where the same language is spoken as in Argentina was fundamental for that choice. Above all having two children (Felipe and Helena) of school age, for whom the French language would have cost too much. However, knowing her husband’s love for Boca, gave the thumb up to the operative return.

In his first season at Marseille, Pipa played 28 games, scored 11 goals and provided two assists.  The arrival of Sampaoli splintered his frequency as a starter
In his first season at Marseille, Pipa played 28 games, scored 11 goals and provided two assists. The arrival of Sampaoli splintered his frequency as a starter

Bragarnik, on the other hand, focused on the professional. His position was to postpone the return until the contract with the Gallic team was concluded, so that his client would continue to receive a sum in dollars that is unattainable for any Argentine football club (where, in addition, the salary is pesified at the official price, which reduces in half compared to the price of the blue dollar).

Finally, the footballer’s enthusiasm prevailed. Powered by Riquelme’s quick reaction, with his intense seduction operation, and the striker’s need for revenge in the Copa Libertadores. Where though it became the only footballer in history to score five goals between the semi-finals and the finals (in 2018 he made three to Palmeiras and two to River), his premature exit in the definition in Madrid and the subsequent defeat continue to be a thorn that he intends to get rid of.

In addition, there was another focus that ended up tipping the balance: in 2018, Benedetto was part of the Qualifiers for the World Cup in Russia. However, the serious injury he suffered in November 2017 (torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee) took him off the list. At 31 years old, Pipa is aware that it is much more likely to go to Qatar 2022 having a great year in Boca than warming up a bench of substitutes in Elche.

The balance of his time in European football is positive if you look at especially his first season, when the Portuguese coach André Villas-Boas gave him much more shooting. They were 28 games, 11 goals and two assists at Marseille. Then, with the arrival of Sampaoli, he lost ground and finally decided to emigrate to Elche, where he was also unable to gain a foothold among the headlines.

On the side of Boca they know that the impact of Pipa wearing the number 9 shirt again will be strong. Above all, in a context where the economic reality of Argentina prevents going out to look for reinforcements of the hierarchy. The national football wallet does not seduce almost anyone. Especially having the stellar and billionaire Brazilian soccer so close. Therefore, the agreement between the player and the club was resolved in minutes.

In this context, there is only room for madness: fanatic players of a club who want to wear the shirt of their loves at any price, and leave in the background or third plane the economic aspect. A recent example would be what happened to Daniele De Rossi in 2019.

With 45 goals in 76 games with the blue and gold shirt (0.59 average per game), Darío Benedetto became Boca’s best scorer since Martín Palermo retired in June 2011. The figure of Pipa, and his experience at the Ribera club, allow Sebastián Battaglia add a reinforcement of enormous hierarchy, in addition to promoting a devalued Argentine football.

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